Fifth Wheels

Durango Fifth Wheel

Greater Stability and More Space

This camping trailer affectionately nicknamed a “Fiver” is a favorite of many, especially those taking extended trips or traveling full time in their RV. The prominent overhang resting above the tow truck bed is frequently employed as a bedroom suite, or, more recently, a living room or even a kitchen.  

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Jayco Fifth Wheel

The “fifth wheel” in the name refers to the U-shaped coupling mounted onto the cargo bed of the tow truck. A pin-box on the front of the fifth wheel camping trailer locks onto the fifth wheel coupling on the truck. It’s similar to the device found on over-the-road tractors hauling commercial semi-trailers.

Some of the advantages of a fifth wheel camping trailer include: 

  • Unequaled amount of storage for large, bulky items with the addition of the “pass-thru” area in the basement
  • Very stable towing due to the fifth wheel hitch centering some of the weight of the RV directly over the rear axle of the tow truck  
  • Many equipped with an auto-leveling system for easy setup
  • The split-level design creates separate living spaces and added privacy
  • Multiple slide-outs for kitchen, living area, bedroom and wardrobes
  • Variety of floorplan layouts with bunkhouse models and models with dedicated office/hobby space
  • Higher ceilings for more headspace and taller cabinets
  • Once unhitched at the campsite, you have your vehicle for side trips

General Specs:

Length: Approximately 25 to 40 feet

Sleeps: Up to 9

Frequently Asked Questions About Fifth Wheels

How does a fifth wheel hitch work?

The “fifth wheel” in the name refers to the U-shaped coupling mounted onto the cargo bed of the towing truck. It is similar to the device found on over-the-road tractors hauling commercial semi-trailers. A pin-box on the front of the fifth wheel camping trailer locks onto the fifth wheel coupling on the truck, allowing for left and right rotation as well as  up and down movement.

Can fifth wheels be converted to a gooseneck?

A gooseneck is a type of hitch commonly found on farm and construction equipment. Fifth wheel RVs are equipped with a trailer pin box that attaches to the fifth wheel hitch mounted to the truck bed. Before converting the fifth wheel to a gooseneck system, check your RV owner’s manual or with your RV dealer.  A gooseneck hitch applies different forces to the trailer frame and may void your RV warranty.

Which fifth wheels come with generators?

Typically, larger fifth wheels designed for extended use offer factory-installed generator options as do most toy-hauler fifth wheels. The large front “pass-through” storage bay located beneath the front overhang of a fifth wheel makes for an ideal generator mounting location.

What do fifth wheels weigh and how are they measured?

Fifth wheel weights vary depending on the make, model, and floorplan. Models can be found at around 6000 pounds up to approximately 14,000 pounds, empty weight. Fifth wheel measurements are commonly taken from pin box to rear bumper.

Are fifth wheels easier to tow?

While fifth wheels are usually larger and heavier than a pull-behind travel trailer, many experienced RV enthusiasts consider a fifth wheel easier to tow. The reason is that on a fifth wheel, the hitch weight of the RV is placed over the rear wheels of the tow vehicle, making for a more stable towing platform. Compare this to a conventional travel trailer, in which the hitch weight is located behind the rear wheels of the tow vehicle. Additionally, since the front portion of the fifth wheel overhangs the tow vehicle bed, the overall length of the tow vehicle/RV combination may be shorter than with similar length pull-behind trailer.

What are the pros and cons of fifth wheels vs travel trailers?

Both travel trailers and fifth wheels offer a vast array of lengths, weights, floorplan layouts, sleeping accommodations, and prices. Some points to consider when choosing between a fifth wheel or travel trailer are:

  1. A travel trailer can be towed with a car, van, SUV or pick up truck.  A fifth wheel requires a pickup truck.
  2. With the fifth wheel hitch-weight placed directly over the pickup truck bed, a fifth wheel is inherently more stable than a pull-behind travel trailer.
  3. A travel trailer offers ranch-style single-floor living; a fifth wheel is split-level. If you have difficulty navigating steps, a fifth wheel may not be the best choice.  On the other hand, the privacy of the bedroom located on the upper level of a fifth wheel may be what you are looking for.
  4. The front pass-through storage of a fifth wheel is unparalleled; travel trailers offer less exterior storage.
  5. Most travel trailer floorplans offer multiple bedrooms or bunkrooms; many fifth wheels offer only one bedroom, with sofas in the living room designed to be converted into beds.
  6. Fifth wheels are taller than travel trailers. While this results in more interior headroom, it also means that you need to be more aware of overhead tree branches and low bridges.

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There are so many different types of RVs, there’s definitely something for everyone. But don’t let having so many choices overwhelm you; we’re here to help you sort through it all and figure out what you need and want.

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